Statement of President Ilham Aliyev
- Dear Prime Minister,
Ladies and gentlemen!
Dear guests, let me cordially welcome you to Azerbaijan once again. Today, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey is on an official visit in Azerbaijan. This visit is of great importance for the development of Turkish-Azerbaijani relations. I have already congratulated the distinguished Prime Minister on his appointment to this high office. I want to extend my congratulations once again.
I am sure that the new government of the Republic of Turkey will continue to do everything possible for the development of Turkish-Azerbaijani relations. We will also try hard and raise these relations to an even higher level together. However, this could be very difficult, because I believe that Turkish-Azerbaijani relations today are at the highest peak.
This year I have paid three visits to Turkey and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has visited Azerbaijan. Today our guest is the esteemed Prime Minister. In other words, this year there have already been five top-level meetings. This in itself is an indicator that Turkish-Azerbaijani relations are developing and are at a high level. I think that it is impossible to find two other countries in the world that would be as close to each other as Turkey and Azerbaijan.
Our collaboration and cooperation is expanding and strengthening in all areas. We are always next to each other. We always support each other. We work together in all international organizations. As part of the recent summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Turkey, a very important decision related to the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was made. A contact group was established. Turkey has played a huge role in the adoption of these decisions. Turkey always stands by Azerbaijan in the settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and we are grateful for this support.
You know that the territory of Azerbaijan recognized by the international community has been under occupation for many years. More than a million Azerbaijanis have become refugees and displaced persons, a policy of ethnic cleansing has been carried out against us and about 20 per cent of our lands have been under occupation for over 20 years. Despite the fact that international organizations, primarily the United Nations, have adopted relevant decisions and resolutions, the issue remains unresolved. The United Nations Security Council has adopted four resolutions, stating that the Armenian armed forces should immediately and unconditionally withdraw from the occupied lands. It has been more than 20 years since these resolutions were adopted, but they are still on paper. Why?! Because there are double standards and discrimination! In some cases, United Nations resolutions are carried out in one day, but when it comes to us, they remain unfulfilled for more than 20 years and the occupier is not faced with any sanctions. This is a great injustice.
Azerbaijan has strengthened its position of principle, achieved political, economic and military supremacy, and the April fighting showed that once again. Armenia’s military provocation did not remain unanswered. The Azerbaijani army launched a counter-offensive, which resulted in the occupation of an area of more than 20 square kilometers. An even bigger area has come under the control of the Azerbaijani army. Of course, we are doing and will continue to do everything possible for a peaceful solution of the issue through negotiations. The status quo is unacceptable and must be changed. Changing the status quo would mean a withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from our occupied lands.
Azerbaijan, in turn, supports Turkey on all matters and stands by it. We also regret the injustice which sometimes manifests itself in relation to Turkey. We have expressed our position. For example, Azerbaijan immediately condemned the unfair and biased resolution of the German parliament adopted yesterday on the basis of a historical lie. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan has issued a statement, and today, as President of the country, I condemn this provocation built on lies once again. This is an injustice, double standards and a distortion of history. Of course, we can’t and won’t tolerate this.
You probably know that the Fourth Congress of World Azerbaijanis is being held in Azerbaijan today. The heads of all our Diaspora organizations are in Azerbaijan today. They have been given instructions that they should always be together with all Turkish Diaspora organizations, conduct joint actions and demonstrations, and express their protest. We must demonstrate our unity both in the region and beyond. The unfair decision adopted by the German parliament, of course, is a political order, as everyone is well aware that it is based on a lie, a great Armenian lie. Why was it adopted yesterday?! Of course, this has political aspects which play a major role. Apparently, they want to coerce Turkey into something. They probably want to put pressure and influence the independent policy of Turkey. These are the factors underlying this injustice. The "Armenian issue" is just an excuse. It has become a tool in the hands of large states again.
It should also be noted that Azerbaijan was faced with a similar situation. On 12 June of last year, the German parliament adopted a very unfair resolution against Azerbaijan which was based on lies and insults. It talked of alleged violations of democracy, human rights, etc. in Azerbaijan. First, this is a lie. Democracy in Azerbaijan is developing. All freedoms are guaranteed – the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press. There is free internet in Azerbaijan – 75 per cent of the population uses the Internet. The question is: how can the freedom of expression be violated where there is free internet? There is freedom of assembly in Azerbaijan. People are free to assemble whenever they want. We are seeing the atrocities committed in Europe against peaceful demonstrators. We see how they are beaten, insulted and humiliated. That is a democracy. People in Azerbaijan live normally, in peace, tranquility, stability and freedom, and this turns out not to be a democracy. Why am I saying this? On 12 June of last year, Baku hosted the world's first European Games. 12 June was the opening day of the European Games. On that same day, the German parliament adopted the resolution against Azerbaijan. So it was done to hurt us, tarnish and slander. This is why we did not pay any heed to that resolution at the time. I am sure that the Turkish people and state will not attach any importance to it. It is absolutely pointless. It is just a political order. Those who adopted it have made a big mistake – both historical and political.
Azerbaijan, as always, stands by Turkey. We will further strengthen our unity. These provocations committed against us show once again that we can only become stronger together. Today, Turkish-Azerbaijani unity is a factor not only in the region but also globally. No-one can deny this factor. We are joining our forces. We are implementing joint projects. Today, the distinguished Prime Minister and I have once again discussed all the projects we are jointly implementing. When the respected Prime Minister was the Minister of Transport, we began the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway. Dear Prime Minister has made great efforts for the construction of this road. We will soon celebrate its opening.
Energy projects have already gone beyond regional frames and become global. Azerbaijan and Turkey are implementing them together. In 2012, together with esteemed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, we laid the foundation of the TANAP project in Istanbul. If we had not assumed this responsibility at that time, energy security issues would still remain the subject of debate. We have taken on this responsibility. We have assumed political responsibility, as well as economic and financial commitments. Today, the Southern Gas Corridor project worth $45 billion dollars is being implemented. This will further unite us and bring stability to the region. Countries of the region will have even closer links with each other.
In short, our joint projects are strengthening us, and confirm yet again the even greater reliability of the region and its readiness for cooperation and interaction. In the future, we will further strengthen our unity. Today, Turkey is a force on a global scale, a member of G20. Despite all the crises, Turkey's economy is growing. Turkey is becoming stronger. The strength of Turkey is our strength. We rejoice in your successes as our own. I am sure that this visit, these meetings and discussions will create excellent conditions for the future.
Dear Prime Minister, let me welcome you once again: You are welcome!